Kotia village row: OHRC seeks reports from RDC, Koraput Collector

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Human Rights Commission has directed the state government to submit factual reports on the development in the Kotia villages of Koraput district.

Acting on a petition filed by rights activist Akhand, the Commission has issued a notice to the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), Southern Division and District Collector of Koraput to submit a report in this regard in four weeks.

The petitioner alleged that after more than 70 years of Independence, the villagers in Kotia Gram Panchayat in Pottangi Block are deprived of basic facilities.

There are 21 villages in this Panchayat. The government developmental programmes and schemes are not accessible to them. No government official has visited some villages in the Panchayat years together, alleged the petitioner.

Again, 20 families residing in Gedalwalsa village, located in the hilly terrain of the border area about 30 km from Narayanpatna block headquarters are also deprived of the government assistance, he alleged.

Except for votes and MGNREGS job cards, the villagers have no basic facilities. After the district administration failed to provide the required facilities, they sought the help of Andhra Pradesh, which has set up an Anganwadi centre, a school, constructed a village road and provided electricity and free monthly rice to all families, said Akhand.

While the state government has failed to open an Anganwadi centre and a primary school, job card has become useless with the absence of work under MGNREGS in the Kotia villages.

Villagers in Gedalwalsa village only enjoy their voting rights and they had last exercised their franchise in the 2014 general elections. Surprisingly, they were not allowed to cast their vote in 2017 panchayat election and their names were not found in the list, alleged Akhand.

The villagers approached the block administration several times for construction of road and provisioning of drinking water and electric facilities, but all are in vain, alleged the petitioner.

Either, the Government funds have not reached the villages or there is heavy corruption in implementation of the developmental works. This should be probed by the higher officials, the petition said.